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Wearing myself out. (Newbie collecting wood)

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Bster13, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I have 3.5 - 4.5 cords C/S/S (I stacked it log cabin, so up to 30% loss by volume I am told) thus far, binging on a weekend here or there since November when I can get wood.

    Previously my back had been a tiny bit sore, but nothing big. I think my back has adjusted well to swinging the Fiskars X27, I can swing all day now. The muscles in my hands would actually be sore from gripping the ax all day. Now they tolerate it well.

    Well this past 3-day weekend I didn't have wood from my usual supply, so I turned to another source on Craigslist in order to make effective use of the long weekend in my race to get two years ahead on my wood supply.

    I took delivery of my first (and likely last) "10 yarder" (12 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 4 ft. high). The landscaper was honest in stating it was logs ranging from 20-40in in diameter, but it put me into overdrive for a little too long. When I went to bed I kept waking up from tingling fingers last night. This morning the tingling is gone, but my hands are sore. I contribute this almost solely to this white collar guy using his chainsaw for all weekend long and the vibrations.

    I have much respect for folks who cut wood for a living.

    Going forward I don't think I'll bite off that much wood at once again and I won't go for hours straight for a long weekend. I desperately want to get my C/S/S done asap (8 cords max for 1974 sq foot ranch in CT) for proper drying next year when I buy my insert but not at the cost of my health (my googling says this is related to Carpal Tunnel).

    Here is the 10 yarder:
    [​IMG]


    And here is my wood pile this morning:[​IMG]What you can't see is the area between the chunks of wood and the stacked area... it's like a battle zone between the large diameter chunks of wood and my Fiskars X27.... splitting splits off the side of the large chunks and whittling them down. There are also large piles of unstacked splits to the right and left of my woodpile.... stacking is going to take "a bit" of time. Haha.

    So lesson learned... a pickup truck's worth at a time is just right for me, the 10 yarder was a lot of wood and a lot of mess for my side yard with all the sawdust, and I'm not so young anymore.

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  2. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Also, and this totally could be my newbie self, bit looking at my woodpile I keep saying (and the fiancee in my ear) "there's no way I'd burn all that in a winter."

    Most hearth.com members in my area state they use 3-4 cords of wood a year for my size home. I've been using this calculator to figure out how many cords I have:
    http://www.maine.gov/ag/firewood.html

    But probably 85% of it is stacked log cabin style, so it takes up more volume. Forum members have stated up to 20-30% more volume as opposed to stacked normally.

    So if I've got 3.5-4.5 cords of wood depending on how you discount the log cabin volume, I'm wondering if I'd really go through that much in a year if I plan to install a Blaze King Princess Insert. Should I be taking into account the "when I switched to a CAT stove I now burn 30% less wood!" factor?
  3. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Keep some rounds on hand so you can split a little every day. That should help keep your hands and arms in splitting shape, and you'll be ready for a long weekend if you want one. Of course by splitting a little every day you may get far enough ahead that you won't need any more long weekends, but you could still have one just for fun and exercise.
    Mr A, Senatormofo and PapaDave like this.
  4. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    With these short days and close neighbors, I really can't split every day that I'd like, thus the weekend flurries. But... I really don't want to split in the heat of the summer if I can avoid it. I'll get there, just very motiviated to get two years ahead as a newbie just starting out. I know future years will be 1/2 the work.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Good advise...........give yourself 6 weeks to get that load done.
    Some here and some there
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hydraulics are your friend. Lots of folks on this site like to whack at wood. Not me...not anymore. Did it for years. It will take a toll on the average person. I know, I know...we have some human machines on this site, but as the years stack up, many have gone over to a hydro splitter. Don't wait till it is too late and you have already done damage.

    There is still enough involved to honestly call it "work" even with a hydro, so you don't have to give up your "man card" or feel less adequate in any way.;lol
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My first year as a full time burner I put up 12 cord by hand. Then I went hydro. Buy the tools before you need them...not after.
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  8. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    If you were running your saw a lot then I wouldn't worry about the tinglies. That's normal from the long periods of vibration. If the tinglies are from splitting then yeah, your body might be telling you you did a bit too much, but hey you aren't doing this every day, just every once in a while. Put some heat on your arms, shoulders, back, drink plenty of water, do some stretching, ask your wife for a shoulder rub... Your body will heal-up, that's what they do.
    A little splitting at a time is great for my body. Much better than sitting on my butt all day getting weak and stiff. If I do a big weekend like that I will be sore, stiff and even wake up with my arms asleep. But that happens to me from anxiety and inactivity sitting at a desk all day too.
    Hard work can be hard on the body, but it can also have big benefits in over-all fitness.
    After next year you'll know how much wood you need for a year. Looks like you have a good idea already. You can't get 2 years ahead in one weekend ;) so just keep pecking away at it 'till your there. Your wood is drying very slowly here in mid-winter. The difference between getting it all stacked by the end of January and the end of February won't be noticable anyway.
  9. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Interesting... last night I was thinking with all the winter winds it was wicking away moisture as the wind was more important than the sun.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    It is true, I won't put up 8 cords in one weekend (though still wondering if my cat stove, do I really need 6 cords? 30% wood savings?), but also with this 10 yarder in my side yard, it's just a big mess I need to clean up asap and not let it linger.
  11. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    If anything it would be an electric splitter. I'm in the suburbs and I don't want to minimize the noise for the neighbors. Also the cost. A splitting ax is much cheaper, less maintenance, and quieter than a gas splitter (though more wear and tear on the body).

    Are there any vertical, electric splitters? With these big chunks of wood, I really wouldn't want to pick them up if possible and being to roll it under the splitter would be beneficial. and if so, ~can~ they handle the big chunks vs. a gas splitter? I have to think their cost would be less...
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    So nobody mows their lawn with a gas mower? A splitter isn't any louder.
  13. Standingdead

    Standingdead Member

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    Just my opinion but gas powered hydro splitters have much more power than electric. That's important when splitting bigger rounds or species like elm. With some help and a good splitter you can split a cord or so of rounds an hour. I wouldn't worry about the neighbors much if your only running the splitter 5-10 hours a year (about as loud as a riding lawn mower). Maybe invite them over for a clambake and some beers (after they help stack of course ;) ). Splitting by hand is good too, as long as you have the time...
  14. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd rather listen to a Honda for 2 hours than you wacking wood all day. :p
  15. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    It's funny, during the mowing months, the second one guy finishes mowing, it seems like that queues another guy to start mowing. Perhaps in the Winter they are all welcoming the break. :p
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. RORY12553

    RORY12553 Minister of Fire

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    My neighbors must hate me at times...hahahaha...in late april i will be off for about a week and plan on splitting a lot of wood by HAND!!!
    Senatormofo and Backwoods Savage like this.
  17. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, the saw will take a toll as well. As far as splitting, it's all in the technique. I split for hours yesterday and hadn't done anything in weeks, so wasn't in shape for it. No tinglies today...actually might split some more in a while. I'm an old geezer, to boot. ==c

    Here's what I've found to be helpful in minimizing effort expended and wear & tear on the body:

    ~Retain your lag. If you play golf, you know what I'm talking about. At start the downstroke the arms are straight but the handle is at a 90* angle to the arms. Make no effort to force the handle to come in line with the arms; The laws of angular momentum and the weight of the head will do that automatically as you approach impact. Visualize trying to pull the butt end of the handle into the ground. In this way, you can build the maximum amount of head speed. Force=mass x acceleration. By retaining the 90* angle, you get more acceleration, like a figure skater that spins faster as they pull their arms in. That's how the pros can pound a golf ball 300+ yards. Look online for some slow-motion swing video of a golf pro; It's a thing of beauty. :) The speed at which your hands are moving will actually decrease close to impact as the angle is released and that speed is transferred to the head.

    ~Wear grippy gloves and grip lightly, using only as much pressure as needed to hold onto the handle..."like you are holding a baby bird," as Sam Snead said. :cool: I will actually loosen my grip as I approach impact. This dramatically reduces the shock transmitted your hands, wrists and arms. You can also use a heavier head without straining. I mainly use a 6-pound maul; Plows through the tougher-splitting stuff with ease. That said, I don't kill myself on hard-splitting wood; I break out the hydraulics when I need to. I really enjoy splitting by hand whenever possible, though. There's just something about whacking stuff with a big club... ==c

    ~Then just watch in amazement as your swing releases all that pent-up energy into the head, and the splits go flying. ::-)

    Take as much time now as you need for your body to recover and heal any damage; The wood isn't going anywhere; Slow but sure wins the race. And be aware of where your feet are at all times in relation to the ax! All this power is nothing to be taken lightly. _g

    See ya later; I'm going outside. :)
    Senatormofo likes this.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Bster, you'd done well. You'll do even better in the future because you'll know more about what you are doing and you'll find you don't actually work as hard but get more done.

    Don't get too hung up on the 30% savings with the cat stove. One has to ask, 30% of what? Some folks enjoy a big savings while others don't. We happen to be one of the lucky ones and cut our wood needs in half with the cat stove. At the same time, I expect we would also have enjoyed a big savings with another type stove too. Half? Maybe so, maybe not. Shoot, we are now heating a larger space and burning even less wood than before. Insulation is the key.
  19. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I guess it also matters if you were going from a "smoke dragon" to an EPA CAT a stove, or an EPA secondary burn stove to a CAT stove (all other variables constant).
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Definitely.
  21. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Well today I'm back to normal and I just got in from stacking for an hour and a half. While rest is what was called for, I just felt a little nutty with my wood yard such a mess and stacking is a different task than running a saw..... so I laid out the free pallets I got and stacked for a bit.

    Oh...and just for kicks, my regular source of wood dropped off a pickup truck's worth this evening to add to the "to do" list. Haha. (But at least this stuff is generally already cut to manageable 18in lengths, and not 40in diameter stuff. :eek:) Don't tell my fiancee.... I bet when she gets out there tomorrow morning she won't be able to tell a difference. :p

  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Bet she's diggin the muscles swingin' that Fiskars will build. ;)
  23. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot Burning Hunk

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    When I first started cutting and splitting wood, I experienced the tingles in my hands. I experimented with my swing and came upon the technique Woody described. For gloves I settled on a relatively light General Purpose Glove (http://www.homedepot.com/buy/firm-grip-large-general-purpose-gloves-2001l.html) from HomeDepot. They have stretchy material in areas that let them fit my hands well. The palms are padded which reduces vibration and shock when my technique fails me. And at $10 a pair the price is not too bad. They are not a durable as a good pair of leather gloves, so I avoid using them if I am doing a lot of stacking or handling rough material.
  24. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah...still waiting on the muscles. Those come around the 5 cord total, right?

  25. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I usually (and this is prob. part of the reason I got myself into trouble last weekend, by sawing and splitting w/ no stacking) cut, split, then stack some to balance the work. I've found rough wood chews up any gloves I thorw at them, so I end up with cheapy gloves like these and just replace them every so often:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005ET9RYM/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

    Gel might be the ticket, but i think I'd get pissed at paying for them. I think I'm just going to try and balance my work more.

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